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We're kind of fond of this Earth; it's home. We're not alone.

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It can be better to let the other guy go first. After seeing how it goes for him, we might not want to go at all.

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Bruce Oliver Brink, 79, died April 18, 2014, at Life Care Center in Mt. Vernon, Wash.
Florence Elizabeth Prose, 90, died on April 14, 2014, in Ketchikan.
Charles Jasper Solomon, 94, died April 10, 2014, in Ketchikan.
Janette Edna Powers, 85, died April 15, 2014 at St. Josephs Hospital, Bellingham, Wash., after a short illness.
Mark Edward Cooley, 55, died April 9, 2014, with his family by his side at their home in Des Moines, Wash. He was born in Portland, Ore., on April 10, 1958. He grew up in Butteville, Ore., on the Willamette River, and graduated from North Marion High School.
Esther Rita Brown, 53, died on April 10, 2014, at her home in Ketchikan.
6/18/2013
Old boats

It’s not the case with people, of course. But with boats, when the average age of the “family” is 32.27 years — including the short-haul “baby” Lituya, at 9, and two fast ferries that don’t do long runs over open ocean — that’s an old bunch of boats.

And so it is that we continue to get announcements from the Alaska Marine Highway System about delays due to mechanical issues. The ferries that can make the long hauls — the ones we depend on desperately as our road here in Southeast — include the trio of 50-year-olds, the Malaspina, Matanuska and Taku, with the Tustumena, at 49, not far behind.

Of course there are mechanical issues. The latest was Monday, on the teenage Kennicott (15). The ferry was eight hours behind due to a mechanical issue and then tidal delays.

Things happen; the crews respond quickly and as efficiently as safety and supplies will allow. Our point is not to blame those who do the heavy lifting on our highway system for problems beyond their control.

Our point is that we need to shake a leg and get more ferries built. We regret the time lost to changing horses in mid-stream, moving from Alaska Class ferries to day boats. But that change is underway, so let’s get the job done.

For those now wondering, here are the ages of the vessels comprising our highway: The Aurora is 36; Chenega (fast ferry), 8; Columbia, 39; Kennicott, 15; LeConte, 40; Lituya and Fairweather (fast ferry), each 9; Malaspina, Matanuska and Taku, each 50; and the Tustumena, 49.

They’re great old gals, many of them, and we love them. But we need to get to the Lower 48, and to points north reliably.

The younger generation needs to be ready when it’s time to step up, and the time is nigh.